Tessera Therapeutics Expands Leadership and Board

bluebird bio alumna Anne-Virginie Eggimann joins as Chief Regulatory Officer

Pharma and healthcare veteran Derica Rice nominated to the Board of Directors

Anne-Virginie Eggimann, M.Sc. (Photo: Business Wire)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--Tessera Therapeutics, the biotechnology company pioneering GENE WRITING™ technology, today announced the appointment of Anne-Virginie Eggimann, M.Sc. as Chief Regulatory Officer (CRO) responsible for leading U.S. and global regulatory science and program and portfolio management for the company’s GENE WRITING development programs. Additionally, former CVS Health and Eli Lilly executive Derica Rice has joined the company’s Board of Directors.

Ms. Eggimann joins Tessera from bluebird bio where she spent nearly eleven years guiding regulatory strategy for the company’s gene therapy portfolio, culminating in her role as Chief Regulatory Officer. During her tenure, Ms. Eggimann oversaw cross-disciplinary teams responsible for identifying efficient development pathways leading to several U.S. and EU approvals for three novel gene therapy products in severe genetic diseases and oncology, including most recently the approval of ZYNTEGLO, the first lentiviral vector gene therapy in the U.S. for the treatment of beta-thalassemia. In parallel, she has also contributed to shaping U.S. regulatory policy for advanced therapies as chair of the Regulatory Committee of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) and currently as the co-chair of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) Regenerative Medicine Committee where she recently participated in the PDUFA VII negotiations with industry trade associations BIO and PhRMA and the FDA.

“Genetic medicines hold tremendous potential to cure diseases and, as the field rapidly evolves, so does the regulatory environment that opens doors to these life-changing medicines for patients,” said Ms. Eggimann. “Tessera’s GENE WRITING technology is exceptionally compelling to me for its potential to leapfrog innovation in genetic medicine and broadly address diseases that have so far proven elusive to cell and gene therapies. These attributes, coupled with the strength of the current leadership team and improvements in delivery and manufacturing that are designed to make these potentially curative treatments more accessible to patients around the world, made joining Tessera in this capacity an irresistible opportunity.”

“Anne-Virginie has proven herself to be an adept and agile leader who has a proven track record of skillfully navigating unchartered territory to bring new platform technologies to market and building high-functioning teams,” said Michael Severino, M.D., Tessera’s Chief Executive Officer. “Her deep expertise in U.S. and global regulatory strategy combined with her entrepreneurial mindset make her an excellent addition to the leadership team.”

Mr. Rice brings to Tessera’s board vast pharmaceutical and healthcare leadership experience, having led the pharmacy benefits management business of CVS Health and served as Chief Financial Officer at Eli Lilly. Mr. Rice also serves on the boards of Bristol Myers Squibb, The Carlyle Group, Target and Disney​.

“Derica is an exceptional leader and champion for innovative therapies with the potential to transform human health,” said Geoffrey von Maltzahn, Ph.D., Tessera’s co-founder and board chair. “Derica’s intimate knowledge of the commercial and payor landscape will be vital as Tessera brings GENE WRITING products to patients and ensures that they are both effective and accessible to those who need them.”

Ms. Eggimann’s and Mr. Rice’s appointments coincide with Tessera’s continued growth. In the last year, Tessera announced the expansion of its Senior Leadership team with the appointments of Michael Severino, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and Board Director, Howard Liang, Ph.D., President and Chief Financial Officer; David Davidson, M.D., Chief Medical and Development Officer; Michael Holmes, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer; Iain McFadyen, Ph.D., Chief Data Officer; and Becky Lillie, Chief Human Resources Officer. In April, Tessera announced that it raised over $300 million in Series C financing to advance its GENE WRITING platform.

Tessera’s GENE WRITING technology consists of multiple platforms designed to offer scientists and clinicians the ability to write therapeutic messages into the human genome, thereby curing diseases at their source.

About Anne-Virginie Eggimann
Anne-Virginie Eggimann joins Tessera after guiding regulatory strategy for bluebird bio’s gene therapy portfolio for nearly 11 years, culminating in her role as Chief Regulatory Officer. Ms. Eggimann has more than 20 years of experience in the development of innovative medicinal products, with a notable record of designing and executing robust regulatory strategies for bringing oncology products, cell and gene therapies, and orphan drugs from early development to market. During her tenure at bluebird bio, she has played a key role in partnering with regulators to bring the company’s pioneering gene therapy products in severe genetic diseases and oncology from preclinical development to registration, leading to several recent approvals in Europe and the U.S. Ms. Eggimann has shaped bluebird’s regulatory policy efforts and is actively engaged with regulatory authorities and trade associations to continue to positively influence the evolving regulatory environment for the field of cell and gene therapy. Prior to joining bluebird, Ms. Eggimann was an Executive Director at Voisin Consulting Life Sciences, leading complex development projects with biotech companies in both the U.S. and Europe. During her decade with Voisin, she contributed to the organization’s global growth from three employees to more than 70. Ms. Eggimann currently serves on the board of Codiak Biosciences. She holds a Master of Science from the UCLA School of Public Health, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

About Derica Rice
Derica Rice is an accomplished executive with decades of experience managing and overseeing a wide range of financial and accounting matters, including financial oversight, risk management and the alignment of financial and strategy initiatives. He led the pharmacy benefits business of CVS Health as Operational, Executive Vice President and President of CVS Caremark. Prior to his time at CVS Health, Mr. Rice spent 27 years guiding Eli Lilly’s financial and strategy functions, eventually serving as the Executive Vice President of Global Services and as Chief Finance Officer.

In addition to Mr. Rice’s tenure in the pharmaceutical industry, he is a board member of Disney, The Carlyle Group and Target, and serves on the Audit Committee for BMS.

Mr. Rice earned his MBA from Indiana University and graduated with a B.S. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Kettering University.

About Tessera’s GENE WRITER Technology
Tessera’s GENE WRITER tools are based on nature’s genome architects, Mobile Genetic Elements (MGEs)—the most abundant class of genes across the tree of life, representing approximately half of the human genome. Tessera has evaluated tens of thousands of natural and synthetic MGEs to create GENE WRITER candidates with the ability to write therapeutic messages into the human genome. Tessera’s research engine further optimizes the discovered GENE WRITER candidates for efficiency, specificity, and fidelity—essentially compressing eons of evolution into a few months.

About Tessera Therapeutics
Tessera Therapeutics is pioneering GENE WRITING technology, which consists of multiple technology platforms designed to offer scientists and clinicians the ability to write therapeutic messages into the human genome, thereby curing diseases at their source. The GENE WRITING platform allows the correction of single nucleotides, the deletion or insertion of short sequences of DNA, and the writing of entire genes into the genome, offering the potential for a new category of genetic medicines with broad applications both in vivo and ex vivo. Tessera Therapeutics was founded by Flagship Pioneering in 2018, a life sciences innovation enterprise that conceives, resources, and develops first-in-category companies to transform human health and sustainability. For more information about Tessera, please visit www.tesseratherapeutics.com.